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Letters to a Soldier: The Letters -- Hanau, Germany, p.2

The Letters: Hanau, Germany, p.2

188.  Mom

Nov. 4, 1973

Dear John,

My mind is full of wedding pictures today. The house is back to normal but it will take years to fade the memories of yesterday. We missed you! I am sure that you would have enjoyed it as much as the rest of us did. Greg thought that because there weren't going to be any people his age and no band and no dancing that it would be a bore and he said he probably would leave early. Well, he stayed until everyone left except for the Lynns and the Sheas and he had a good time too.

The day was lovely. Chilly after a week of rain and grey clouds but all blue and gold. Our grass is still green, our flowers still blooming, even some roses left!

Your sister looked beautiful and was very cool and calm holding your father's arm down the isle. You would have been so proud of Mary Lou who led the procession dressed in navy and white and carrying yellow flowers. She walked down that aisle as if it was the Miss America runway. Your brothers all had a special part to play--Jim was best man, Greg an usher, Bill did the reading up at the mike, Michael zipped all over the place taking pictures and Mark was Linda's escort up the aisle.

Bill (in his new red jacket with his red & blue slacks) and Greg in his navy blue took me up the aisle and boy, did I hold on tight to their arms! I was a little nervous.

Everyone loved the music and the way Mrs. Antiue sang and played it. Lynn & Bob wanted "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Now We've Just Begun," "Come Saturday Morning" and "A Time For Us," played while the guests were being seated. She also sang Schubert's "Ave Maria' when Lynn put on a bouquet on the Blessed Mother's alter. That's when I cried. I thought back over the years and wished that all those people who weren't there could share the day with us--you and her grandparents and Bob's family . . .

The party here was great! I took all the chairs out of the D.R. [dining room] except for the blue one so everyone could mill around & talk to one another. Which they did. The food was plentiful and good. It was demolished. Good drinks, too.

The basement looked good and people wandered down there (we had a second bar set up by the 'phone) played pool and listened to Mike's stereo.

Lynn and Bob received many nice things including money, the exact amount is unknown right now but it was so appreciated--it made a honeymoon to Newport possible.

Bill--hanging wall ornament
Greg--crystal candle holder +$20
Mike--her wedding photos & album
Mark--electric can opener-sharpener
Mary Lou--whistling tea kettle
Mom & Dad--cash and a savings bond

I packed them a lunch to take along while they packed the Mustang--you wouldn't believe how they packed that! They left about seven o'clock and then I cried--not too bad for an emotional mother--right?

Bob promised to take good care of her, said I wouldn't believe how much he loved her! But I do believe him.

I want her to be so happy and put the past where it belongs--behind her.

And so another era begins. Hey, would you believe that I am a MOTHER-IN-LAW? Hope she writes to you and gives you her version. She had hoped to hear from you, I know.

Bill said to tell you that he is going to the Moody Blues this weekend and will tell you about that later.

Pictures should be ready in a week or so and I'll send some on to you then.

Keep well, I hope your mind is a little more relieved about that crisis now. [A Middle East Crisis] Mine is. Nixon did pull that off o.k.

Much love,

189.  Dad

Sunday, 10th

Dear John,

It is a cold and dreary winter-type Sunday afternoon. But it is a good one to stay at home and indoors and read, or write or watch the Lions on TV, playing at Minnesota, which is what I am doing now.

We got your Tuesday letter yesterday and that is very good service. You mentioned the classes you were taking and it seemed things are not going too badly there now. You haven't mentioned lately what you are doing for recreation so I presume you haven't been doing much out of the unusual like visiting historic old European scenes, traveling, skiing, or whatever. Have you gotten any leaves where you can get away for a weekend or more?

We got the wedding pictures back which Mike [shot] and they are plenty. We shall get some reprints and send them to you. The happy couple are at last report fixing up their apartment at 47 Western Ave. and will be, or have now, moving in soon. Bob's folks live across the street at 44, you know, where Lynn and Bob are presently living. We thought we would go there to see them and take some of their stuff which they left here, but I guess we won't go in the foreseeable future. I do have the long Thanksgiving weekend off, the new paid off day after Thanksgiving. Which reminds me, we got our new phone directories this past week and I see you are still listed at the Del Ray location just like you never left.

We will probably get something in the mail for you soon for Christmas because they say to sure of delivery by regular mail it should be sent by Nov. 11. Air Mail by Dec 10. These sound like very early dates, do they tell you about Christmas mailing? Anyway, is there anything in particular which you would like that you could suggest? Please comment in your next early letter. Also, how long has mail been taking in reaching you? Do you think it would be practical to send to you your guitar? Would it be safe to send, safe to keep there, and a problem to get back. Or could you get one there, say a used one, and then resell it before coming back? Let us know if we can be of help. The Free Press subscription is up for renewal so I shall renew it for 3 more months and then monthly until you get out.

The energy shortage is really getting attention as being serious in the States. The early cold weather is causing people with oil heaters to be concerned, if not actually running short, so they are talking gasoline rationing in the Spring or adding a 35 or 40 cent a gal. Tax to discourage driving. Perhaps if they can settle the Arab-Egyptian thing the Arabs will release their oil and resume selling to the so called free nations who are supporting Israel. I think this is the cause of it all. There was a little shortage last year on the East coast so there isn't much room for losing sources of supply. The utilities like Edison who have recently converted to gas and oil generation are now especially hard hit to be able to supply the power which they should. Michigan and Edison are especially hurt because most of the oil Canada has stopped selling the U.S. was used in Michigan. So now conservation is the word and government is calling for reduced driving, eliminating Christmas decorating lighting. It's almost unbelievable how fast this situation has come about.

We went to St. Norbert's 300 club party last night and it was very nice, as usual. The Nephs say John is still apprenticing [as an Iron Worker], and still has class work ahead. I don't know what your other friends are up to, not having seen them since you left. Do you hear from any of them?

Not much else new now so til next time, so long, and keep those letters rolling.

190.  Mom

[Postmarked November 15, 1973]
Thanksgiving Day Card

191.  Mary Lou

Thurs. [postmarked November 17 or something 1973]

Dear John,

I thought you would want to know what's happening with Pepper. I'm going to watch the Waltons in about 10 minutes. Pepper got spayed last Tues. Its hard to concentrate with Bill playing his guitar. Well anyway we picked her up yesterday. She got to sleep with me. It's hard for her to lye down because her stitches hurt I guess.

Even though Lynn's wedding was a couple of weeks ago I'll have to tell you, I was sick when Father was giving his sermon. I wasn't sick from his sermon I was sick because it was so hot and all the excitement. Well that's at least part of it. Boy the thing that bothers me about Mr. Shea is that he always says everything is "cool!" Mrs. Shea was kind of high like. I guess she got a little too much to drink.


I watched the Waltons last night and it went till about 10:00 so I couldn't finish this letter.

I was wondering. Does Germany have a fuel shortage, too? If not you're lucky you're in Germany during the winter.

Our class made our first paper today. It had a news page, a sports page, an entertainment page, and a story page. We sell it for 3 cents. Bye for now.

Yours Truly (and all that jazz)
Mary Lou

192.  Dad

Sunday Evening [November 18; postmarked November 19, 1973]

Dear John,

As I write this we are siting in the living room watching the old pro, Mr. Music himself, Frank Sinatra. This is followed by Dinah Shore and her special. Real old timers night, eh? Do you get to see any TV? What movies do you have? Are you on a regular base with a P.X., theater and the things the American Bases have? How about a word picture of your area.

Thanksgiving this week and a 4 day weekend. If everything goes well I will spend it looking over, inspecting, and trying out the car I put a deposit on today. It's owned by a young couple in Farmington and he works for Ford Engineering and gets it through the company. Anyway, it is a '72 Ford LTD, 4 door, brown with darker brown vinyl top. It now has vinyl interior, all brown (carpet is cloth), AM radio & air conditioning. It doesn't have FM, or electric windows or seat like my '66 but it really is nice and the guy has 3 new tires, not even on the wheels yet, & the spare unused. The car has 23,400 miles on it. Bill says he would like the '66 LTD which is in pretty good shape considering the age and mileage, 92,000. It should have some good mileage left and Bill's car needs a new exhaust system, 2 new tires, and the driver's window doesn't work, so, he might buy the LTD & sell the Mustang.

We talked to Lynn & Bob on the phone tonight. They just moved into their apartment yesterday and now they can begin to settle down. She hasn't begun to look for a job yet, being too busy getting the place ready. I believe she said she heard from you. I think you said the same, too. I believe they will drive here around Christmas. Mark went to the Auto Show with Bill Fields, his C.C.D. teacher and a couple others in the class. It just started yesterday. Friday we are taking Mary Lou to Cobo Arena to see the Royal Lippizaners, the white horses trained for dancing or tricky riding. Cobo area is quite busy with a lot of different shows, one right after the other, including a couple of groups which I don't remember the name of but one I noticed is already sold out. We took Mary Lou to see Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Friday night. I liked it. It is a slow moving movie but it has wonderful photography of beautiful scenery and it is well done, with the music and the story woven in with the picture to make nice entertainment.

Well, there isn't much news around here so I'll close. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving Holiday, that they don't overcook your turkey, and that you are getting some enjoyment out of your tour in the "old country."

With love,

193.  Mom

Thanksgiving Day [November 22, 1973]

Dear John,

Our turkey is turning golden brown in the oven. The pumpkin pie is baked. The biscuits are ready to be popped into the oven at the last minute and the Schneiders are almost ready to devour untold caloric delights once more.

We miss you and Lynn this year. We are just family this year. Grampa and Uncle Bud and Sister Ann Louis are eating at Eve Ann's this year. Last year Bob was here and he and Lynn took Mary Lou down to the parade. My, the changes that have occurred this year!

Did your father mention his "new" car to you? It is pretty-an elegant brown with darker brown vinyl roof. I haven't driven it yet. So now we have an exceedingly used (94,000 miles) L.T.D. to get rid of.

Pepper has had her stitches removed and is back to her old frisky self, again. Now Mary Lou can get the cut rate on her license because she has been spayed. Did anyone mention the new glasses in the family? Mary Lou got hers-at her own request for an eye exam. She has very bad vision and is reluctant to wear the glasses even though she sees much better. She picked out gold rimmed hexagon shaped-not too bad looking.

Bill also found out that he needed them so he started wearing his new ones this week. Which makes me wonder about your eyes. Have they been tested recently? Bill said his army eye exam didn't mention his need for any. Mark is worried about the possibility of his wearing them and perhaps keeping him out of the "Blue Angels."

Can you believe that the Army has been sending recruiting literature to the twins lately? They file them in the circular file immediately! Graduation and register for the draft will be upon them before I know it. Hey, you'll be home for their graduation, won't you? Wonderful!

Lynn couldn't make it home today but they are promising to come back for Christmas. She has been (both of them, in fact) working so hard on their apartment and seems a bit discouraged at the results. She hasn't had time to look for a job to ease the financial strain they seem to be having.

Our snaps should be back early next week and I'll send them to you right away. Lynn was quite happy with them, thank goodness.

Loved your last letter. Try it again soon.

Much love from all of us.

194.  Mom

Wed. Nov. 28

Dear John,

Well, here they are--10 views of our wedding! I just picked them up yesterday. We have more, of course, for you to see when you get home but these will give you some of the highlights. Mike ran out of film so we asked Bud to take some of the cake cutting. I haven't seen those yet, and I think that your dad has some in his camera yet.

Yesterday I sent out a Christmas box to you. I sent it Air Mail so let me know how long it took to reach you, will you please? Don't get all excited when you see the size of it. More a remembrance from home than anything gift wise. If I knew your needs over there I could have done more but you never answered my questions as to what you wanted. Come to think of it, you are long overdue to write us. We know so little of what you are doing or seeing over there. Saw a glimpse of Frankfort the other day on the noon news show when they were discussing the gasoline crisis. Gas at $1.49 a gal.!

Our is up to .42--.48 per gallon for regular-premium. If no one is allowed to drive on Sunday over there it would hamper your weekend passes, wouldn't it? You do get them though, don't you? If your Free Press is arriving you know that we can't buy gas from 9pm on Sat. till 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.

Lynn said that she was planning on coming home for Christmas. I do hope this new crisis won't hamper her chances.

Talked to Mr. Perkovich yesterday (as he put in $30.00 worth of new tubes in our set) and he tells me that Danny will be home on leave on the 29th of December so they are going to wait for him before they celebrate the holidays.

Wish you could be here. Of course, the only consolation is in knowing that when you do come home, it will be for keeps. That thought must warm you, right?

Must close now. I want to get a note out to Lynn today too. Write soon and tell me how you like the snaps-come to think . . . . write and tell me anything!!

Much love,


195.  Dad

Sunday Evening [December 2; postmarked December 3, 1973]

Dear John,

I sit here to write you with a throbbing jaw. I apparently have a tooth problem which I went to see Dr. Becker about twice in the last month. Then it wasn't too bad and he couldn't find anything wrong. Well, there is something wrong and now somebody better find out what it is. I will attempt to see him again in the morning.

In the meantime we had a nice sunny day and tomorrow is supposed to get into the 50's while today was 40 degrees. No snow yet and probably there will be none this week, which is fine with me.

I have had the new car almost two weeks and it looks real good. I did clean the plugs yesterday and changed the points & condenser. Perhaps I can improve the 13.6 miles per gallon I got on the 1st half tank. The former owner said he got 12 in the city and 16 on the highway.

I painted a white 4" boarder along the edge of the driveway to cut down on the driving off the lawn while backing the cars down. It has been difficult to see the edge in the dark, especially when it has been wet. We shall see how it works.

Jim gave mother a couple tickets to see a benefit at Ford Auditorium Friday night. We both went and saw Robert Goulet and Joe Garagila. M.C. was J. P. McCarthy. It was a very good (and loud) show. Garagiola is very funny and you know how well Bobby Gullet sings. Afterward we went across the street to the Gas Co. Bldg. And went up to the Top of the Flame for a couple drinks. We sat in the cocktail lounge, the area on the West or opposite side of the place from where we had lunch. It was very pretty sitting by the window looking out over the cities, the river, and the millions of lights.

They are cutting down on the Christmas decorative lighting due to the energy shortage but street lights and most store signs are still being lighted, although some stores and commercial places are reducing the number of lights and the length of time they leave them turned on. This was the first Sunday which the gas stations are asked to voluntarily close for the day. I didn't see any open in a ride to wonderland on Plymouth Road. The price went up at least at some stations yesterday and regular is now around 46 cents a gallon although Maverick at Inkster & Avondale closed Saturday at 42.9 cents.

I do wish I knew what you are and have been doing in your spare time. We haven't, as I write this, heard from you for over 3 weeks, I guess, and we can't help wondering why not. I am sure your mother gets worried when we don't hear for so long a time. You did say you would write once a week. We would appreciate if you would at least drop a line more frequently so we can be assured you are all right, that is, if you are all right. I was mentioning to your mother just the other day that even with the 2 or 3 letters you have written so far from Germany we don't have very much of a picture of what it is like where you are or around that part of the country, if you have seen much. So you see, there are some things to write about; even if they seem trivial to you they would be of interest to us.

I hope you get your Christmas box in time. I really suspect you will get it way ahead of time. Then you could wait to open it until Christmas if you like. There isn't much we can get under the circumstances so we can wait until you get out in the Spring before we really celebrate.

The twins this past week sent in their applications to Wayne U. and Michigan. Mike wants to go to U of M @ Dearborn. Greg still wants to be a lawyer and he wants his first 4 years @ Wayne. At least that is what he wants now.

Bill is planning his 2nd semester at Eastern to start in January. He's figuring on continuing his music specialization.

Will close for now. So long

In case the mail is especially slow, Merry Christmas, son.

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